The Tricycle Theatre’s acclaimed production of Lolita Chakrabarti’s Red Velvet will join the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season at the Garrick Theatre, playing from 23 January to 27 February.
Olivier Award-winning star of stage and screen Adrian Lester will reprise his performance as Ira Alrdidge in the production first seen at the Tricycle in 2012.
The theatrical drama proved so successful that it transferred to New York’s St Ann’s Warehouse in 2014. Though a West End transfer was always rumoured, it has not proved possible until now.
Speaking about adding Red Velvet to his much anticipated season, Branagh said: “Writing, direction and performance are exceptional in Red Velvet. I’m immensely proud to be presenting this work. I was aware of its development from its inception and believe Lolita Chakrabarti has written an important and exhilarating play which in its discussion of performance, politics, and race is as entertaining as it is illuminating.”
Chakrabarti’s drama tells the story of Aldridge, a young black American actor who, in 1833, was asked to step into the shoes of heralded actor Edmund Kean when he finds himself unable to play Othello. As the public riots on the street about the abolition of slavery, how will the cast, critics and audience react to the ground-breaking move?
Hustle star Lester commented: “Getting Ira’s story to the stage has been a labour of love for us. The fact that we now get to tell that story in the West End and in such illustrious company is fantastic.”
Red Velvet, which is directed by Tricycle Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham, joins a season that already boasts The Winter’s Tale, Harlequinade/All On Her Own, The Painkiller, Romeo And Juliet and The Entertainer.